Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”
– Mark 8:34-38
“What must our Lord think of us when His work and His witness depend upon the convenience of His people? The truth is that every advance that we make for God and for His cause must be made at our inconvenience. If it does not inconvenience us at all, there is no cross in it! If we have been able to reduce spirituality to a smooth pattern and it costs us nothing – no disturbance, no bother and no element of sacrifice in it – we are not getting anywhere with God. We have stopped and pitched our unworthy tent halfway between the swamp and the peak.”
– Rev. A. W. Tozer, I Talk Back to the Devil
Jesus tells us to take up our cross. People do not use the cross as a means of capital punishment these days, but when it was done, it was brutal. You could not tell the executioner, “Not today. I have a headache.” Excuse me. People don’t have headaches anymore. “Not today. I have a migraine.” Crucifixion was never done when it was convenient for the person being executed.
Jesus told the few would-be followers in Luke 9:57-62 that being one of His followers would be costly, and we had to leave everything else behind.
Mark Batterson, in his book All In, writes that the missionaries of a century ago packed all their belongings in a coffin to signify that they would not be going back home. That doesn’t sound like it was convenient.
Today, that message seems to be lost. We want our comforts. We fit Godly pursuits into a niche, but only when it is convenient.
We are also very busy people. We postpone doing something for God, because we have so many things going at once. Let’s look at the calendar. I can fit God in between 4:30 and 5:00 on Saturday afternoon, only if Johnny’s game doesn’t go into overtime.
Some of us make excuses for being ill-equipped, but we can study the Bible, and God can direct that study. Some of us don’t think that we can talk to others about our beliefs, but God will guide the willing person. At times, the Holy Spirit seems to take over, but only when we trust Him totally.
The Devil is the master of excuses.
The featured photograph is of the palisades outside Taos, NM. It’s near Philmont Scout Ranch. I took the photograph 50 years ago this summer. I don’t know about other people, but that is what I did the summer of ’68.
The reason to use the photograph is that Rev. Tozer likens the Christian experience to that of a mountain climber. He said that the climber is always in peril, but they continue to advance forward and upward ‘at their inconvenience.’
Don’t be a convenient Christian. Don’t wait for a convenient time to share your faith, study God’s word, or simply talk to God in prayer. When God calls, answer as in Isaiah 6:8.
Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”
And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”